Wolves on run from defeats

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The Independent Online

Warrington try to avoid making an unwanted piece of club history when they go to Harlequins this afternoon.

The Wolves lost their last five games last season plus their first four of this campaign. Defeat today would make it the worst run the club has ever experienced – something that their new coach, Tony Smith, is bound to use to try to galvanise them.

He is able to add Simon Grix to a squad that showed some improvement against Leeds last week, but is without injured Chris Bridge, while Ben Westwood is still suspended. One change Smith might be tempted to make is to swap the roles of Chris Riley and Chris Hicks. Riley has been having a torrid time at full-back, the position which Hicks, now playing on the wing, filled with confidence last season.

Quins are one of the successes of the early weeks of the season, winning two of their three Super League games, throwing away the other one, against Wigan, in the final minutes. Given their home advantage, there must be every risk of Warrington's poor run carrying on, although Smith's positive influence on their organisation and discipline with surely start to show sooner rather than later.

The Super League table has been an intoxicating sight for Castleford fans this week with their side, who finished last in 2008, ensconced in third place. The Tigers are an object lesson in the value of patience – shown both in retaining their coach, Terry Matterson, and in keeping faith with their young players.

Local youngsters like Joe Westerman, Michael Shenton and Richard Owen have continued their development this season, but even they would agree that the renaissance of the most experienced player on the club's books has been equally responsible for their revival. Brent Sherwin, short of match fitness virtually all season, was a disappointment last year. This time, he has rediscovered his best form and is directing Castelford's young guns around the field to great effect.

This evening's opponents, Huddersfield, were disappointed with their effort against Hull last week and will have had a tough build-up under their demanding coach, Nathan Brown.

Sunday's programme sees the welcome return of Jamie Langley to Bradford's injury-hit pack for the visit of high-flying Hull.

The Catalan Dragons, without Greg Bird, who has discovered in Sydney this week that he could face extra assault charges, are at Wakefield. The Celtic Crusaders, competitive in all their games so far, go in search of their first win at Hull KR. Rochdale Hornets start their season in the newly named Co-operative Championship One – formerly National League Two – with a nine-point penalty after going into administration this year.